Security tightened for series

Updated: September 22, 2004, 1:01 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Three fans were tossed Tuesday night but there were no serious problems around Oakland's bullpen during the opener of the three-game Athletics-Rangers series in Texas.

Security appeared tight near the bullpen but its numbers were not beefed. Three men were removed by Arlington police, an official told The Dallas Morning News, and one was arrested for public intoxication.

After the Rangers' 9-4 victory, Athletics reliever Justin Lehr said several people were removed from the area by stadium security for using foul language. But he said there was nothing -- like a chair being tossed -- out of the ordinary.

Before their ejections, all three men told The Morning News that they believed the Rangers went overboard stationing security around the A's bullpen in left-center. According to the newspaper, a security official told fans early on that no extracurricular activities would be tolerated.

"They're taking things to extremes," 25-year-old Josh Hankins, who was ejected, told The Morning News. "We sit in those seats for a reason -- so we can [heckle] their bullpen. That's part of baseball. We don't use profanity. I don't even think we got close to crossing any lines."

It was the first home game for the Rangers since the altercation with fans near their bullpen in Oakland last week. Rookie reliever Frank Francisco threw a folding chair into the stands, breaking the nose of a woman whose husband had been heckling throughout the Sept. 13 game.

"We had 28,000 fans here and 99.9 percent of them were great," Rick McLaughlin, the Rangers' executive vice president of business operations, told The Morning News. "Security was not really beefed up. We just moved a few police officers to different positions."

The visitors' bullpen in Oakland is along the right-field line within reach of spectators in box seats. Extra security was in place in that area for the final three games of the series against the Rangers.

In Arlington, the visitors' bullpen is beyond the fence in left-center field, but below the two sections of seats next to it.

One side of the seats is at least nine feet above the mounds. The other is only about three feet at its lowest, but there is always a security guard in the area where only a handful of seats are in proximity. Both walls get progressively taller.

A walkway for fans at the top of the back wall of the bullpen is about 25 feet above the ground.

Rangers first baseman Mark Teixeira didn't think extra security was necessary.

"We've had some problems in Oakland. That's the kind of fans they are, they're Raiders fans and they get a little too crazy," Teixeira said before Tuesday's game. "I don't think our fans are like that."

Francisco has started serving a 16-game suspension even though he appealed the season-ending penalty. Doug Brocail (seven games) and Carlos Almanzar (five games) both pitched Tuesday night pending an appeals hearing, which could come this weekend.

"The hope of staggering them [the suspensions] goes away," manager Buck Showalter said.